Just Cause Termination (Employment Insurance)

From Riverview Legal Group

Caselaw.Ninja, Riverview Group Publishing 2021 ©
Date Retrieved: 2024-07-20
CLNP Page ID: 2031
Page Categories: Employment Insurance
Citation: Just Cause Termination (Employment Insurance), CLNP 2031, <https://rvt.link/28>, retrieved on 2024-07-20
Editor: MKent
Last Updated: 2022/12/19

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Employment Insurance Act (S.C. 1996, c. 23)[1]


29 For the purposes of sections 30 to 33,

(a) employment refers to any employment of the claimant within their qualifying period or their benefit period;
(b) loss of employment includes a suspension from employment, but does not include loss of, or suspension from, employment on account of membership in, or lawful activity connected with, an association, organization or union of workers;
(b.1) voluntarily leaving an employment includes
(i) the refusal of employment offered as an alternative to an anticipated loss of employment, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the loss of employment occurs,
(ii) the refusal to resume an employment, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the employment is supposed to be resumed, and
(iii) the refusal to continue in an employment after the work, undertaking or business of the employer is transferred to another employer, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the work, undertaking or business is transferred; and
(c) just cause for voluntarily leaving an employment or taking leave from an employment exists if the claimant had no reasonable alternative to leaving or taking leave, having regard to all the circumstances, including any of the following:
(i) sexual or other harassment,
(ii) obligation to accompany a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child to another residence,
(iii) discrimination on a prohibited ground of discrimination within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act,
(iv) working conditions that constitute a danger to health or safety,
(v) obligation to care for a child or a member of the immediate family,
(vi) reasonable assurance of another employment in the immediate future,
(vii) significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary,
(viii) excessive overtime work or refusal to pay for overtime work,
(ix) significant changes in work duties,
(x) antagonism with a supervisor if the claimant is not primarily responsible for the antagonism,
(xi) practices of an employer that are contrary to law,
(xii) discrimination with regard to employment because of membership in an association, organization or union of workers,
(xiii) undue pressure by an employer on the claimant to leave their employment, and
(xiv) any other reasonable circumstances that are prescribed.

Disqualification — misconduct or leaving without just cause

30 (1) A claimant is disqualified from receiving any benefits if the claimant lost any employment because of their misconduct or voluntarily left any employment without just cause, unless

(a) the claimant has, since losing or leaving the employment, been employed in insurable employment for the number of hours required by section 7 or 7.1 to qualify to receive benefits; or
(b) the claimant is disentitled under sections 31 to 33 in relation to the employment.

Length of disqualification

(2) The disqualification is for each week of the claimant’s benefit period following the waiting period and, for greater certainty, the length of the disqualification is not affected by any subsequent loss of employment by the claimant during the benefit period.

Not retroactive

(3) If the event giving rise to the disqualification occurs during a benefit period of the claimant, the disqualification does not include any week in that benefit period before the week in which the event occurs.


(4) Despite subsection (6), the disqualification is suspended during any week for which the claimant is otherwise entitled to special benefits.

Restriction on qualifying for benefits

(5) If a claimant who has lost or left an employment as described in subsection (1) makes an initial claim for benefits, the following hours may not be used to qualify under section 7 or 7.1 to receive benefits:

(a) hours of insurable employment from that or any other employment before the employment was lost or left; and
(b) hours of insurable employment in any employment that the claimant subsequently loses or leaves, as described in subsection (1).

Restriction on number of weeks and rate of benefits

(6) No hours of insurable employment in any employment that a claimant loses or leaves, as described in subsection (1), may be used for the purpose of determining the maximum number of weeks of benefits under subsection 12(2) or the claimant’s rate of weekly benefits under section 14.


(7) For greater certainty, but subject to paragraph (1)(a), a claimant may be disqualified under subsection (1) even if the claimant’s last employment before their claim for benefits was not lost or left as described in that subsection and regardless of whether their claim is an initial claim for benefits.

KH v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2020 SST 1177 (CanLII)[2]

[7] The law says that you are disqualified from receiving benefits if you left your job voluntarily and you did not have just cause.Footnote1 Having a good reason for leaving a job is not enough to prove just cause. You have just cause to leave if, considering all of the circumstances, you had no reasonable alternatives to quitting your job when you did. It is up to the Claimant to prove this. The Claimant has to show that it is more likely than not that he had no reasonable alternatives but to leave when he did.

[8] When I decide this question, I have to look at all of the circumstances that existed at the time that the Claimant quit. The circumstances I have to look at include some set by law. After I decide which circumstances apply to the claimant, he then has to show that there was no reasonable alternative to leaving at that time.


[1] [2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Employment Insurance Act (S.C. 1996, c. 23), <https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/e-5.6/index.html>, retired on 2022-12-16
  2. 2.0 2.1 KH v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2020 SST 1177 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/jdxzs>, retrieved on 2022-12-16